A near-pristine poster of the iconic Disney rodent produced in the same year of the character's creation will be auctioned online this week on November 29. The 1928 movie poster, owned for decades by a late California collector who kept it hidden and didn't tell his family about it until his health began to fail, is now being sold by his family.
The poster was obtained in 1988 by Crowell Havens Beech of Chico who died at age 86 in 2010. His family thought he'd sold all his posters in the late 1990s, but he secretly kept the 1928 Mickey Mouse poster hidden on top of a dresser covered with a piece of wood to keep it flat, and then covered with a tapestry.
"I didn't even know he had it," said Tracy Leighton, one of Beech's daughters. "He didn't show it to me until he knew his health was declining and he started confiding to me important things he wanted me to know in case something happened to him. Among those things was this poster, the crowing jewel of his collection."
"It seems a shame for us to keep it as we just don't know what we would do with it. This really does need to find a home with someone who will treasure it the way my father did," she said.
The 27 by 41 inch full-color, one-sheet poster advertises "A Walt Disney Comic." It depicts a smiling Mickey waiving his gloved left hand, and the text describes him as "the world's funniest cartoon character" and "a sensation in sound and synchrony," a reference to the early use of synchronized sound on the film.
"It's the earliest known surviving movie poster of the world's most famous mouse and an important piece of pop culture treasure," said Grey Smith, director of movie poster auctions at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas. "It's incredibly rare and the subject matter is instantly recognizable the world over. It's difficult to say what it will bring in the auction because there's simply nothing to compare it to. It's one-of-a-kind."